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Old 07-28-2003, 07:11 PM   #1
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Single axle or double axle. Which is easier to tow?

We intend to buy a new Airstream and are looking at both the International CCD 22' and the Bambi CCD 19'. We're wondering what differences we might see pulling the 22' double axle International vs the 19' single axle Bambi with our 2001 Chevy Tahoe with trailer ride control.

We've pulled both 19' double axle and 16' single axle Wells Cargo enclosed trailers and have noticed that the double axle trailer provides a smoother ride and handles a little better than the single.

So we're trying to determine how our Wells Cargo exerience with axle numbers might relate to Airstream axle count.
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Old 07-28-2003, 07:23 PM   #2
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About the same as your experience. A trailer is a trailer. Nice thing about a tandem, is that if you loose a tire you still have 3 left, and can still limp along slower. Not so with single axle trailer.
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Old 07-28-2003, 07:30 PM   #3
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I agree with Pick. Having a dual axle is really neat. The Bambi does only have one axle and I find it's not a strong as two, but for me the deciding factor was the floorplan. I just liked the Bambi better.
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Old 07-28-2003, 07:43 PM   #4
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Single axle or double axle. Which is easier to tow?

Greetings Dottie!

Welcome to the Forums!

I own both a single and a tandem axle Airstream. They are as follows:

1964 Airstream Overlander (26' and 6,000 pounds fully loaded)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre (19'3" and 3,250 pounds fully loaded)

The '64 is a tandem axle and the '78 is a single axle.

I would have never believed that a single axle trailer could handle as well as the little Minuet - - my previous single axle trailer was a 19' Nomad and it was an absolute terror to tow regardless of hitch used. When I acquired the Minuet last year, I was quite concerned about the quality of towing experience after my near disasterous relationship with the 19' Nomad. My concerns were unfounded; the Minuet tows wonderfully, in fact I feel just as comfortable towing the Minuet as the Overlander.

With the single axle trailer, I am much more aware of keeping the proper pressure in the tires as well as maintaining tires in top condition. I also check the tires and wheels more carefully at each stop looking for noticeable increases in temperature or any evidence of tire problems developing. The one difference that I note with the Minuet is that it reacts MUCH more quickly to inputs when it is being backed into a parking place. One thing that I really do like about the Minuet is that I can squeeze into many gas stations where it would be impossible to take the Overlander.

With the tandem axle Overlander, I will admit to having a greater sense of security as I am not as aware of the potential problems that a blow-out might cause on the single axle trailer. Beyond the blow-out concern I find that the Overlander handling characteristics very similar to the smaller trailer - - it just takes a bit larger turning radius when making a turn, but not a tremendous difference.

In my opinion, one of the greatest factors in having a good towing experience with these trailers is a properly setup weight distributing hitch with sway control. I use the same system on both of my trailers (with different weight distributing spring bars - - 500 pound bars on the Minuet and 800 pound bars on the Overlander) - - Reese Straight Line Weight Distributing Hitch with Reese Dual Cam Sway Control.

Good Luck with your decision - - I think that you would be happy with either coach, but if you have any reservations or misgivings about traveling comfortably with a single axle trailer I would suggest playing it safe and going with 22' tandem.

Kevin D. Allen
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Old 07-28-2003, 08:12 PM   #5
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A wash

I have towed both single and tandem axle trailers for a lot of years. IF the loading is correct and the hitch adjustments are correct, I think it is pretty much a wash. Big thing about the tandem axle is in the case of a blowout as was pointed out above.

My last two SOB trailers were both single axle. I wanted more space and a wider bed than the Bambi, so I opted for the 22' tandem trailer.
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Old 07-29-2003, 06:10 AM   #6
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I've had both as well.

Basically the size of the unit you want will dictate single or double axle. On some of the larger vintage units such as the early Overlanders, 26 footers, even had the single axle as standard equipment, the dual axle being an option. My Minuet had the single axle and one of the best things about it was when it came time to replace it I needed to buy only one axle. It was easy to back into the tightest of spaces. I had only one mild sway experience and I pulled it with my F-250 without any sway or WD equipment. If you are looking at a vintage double axle unit, be sure to know before purchase if you will need to replace the axles, it could be your most major expense.

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Old 07-30-2003, 09:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for all your replys...we sweated out a look-see in Los Banos in over 100 degree weather...the 22 footer is looking mighty good...everybody take
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Old 07-30-2003, 10:26 PM   #8
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Glad to read that you towed your Minuet without any weight or sway device & it wasn't the white knuckle ride from hell that everybody here predicts. Furthemore it was a single axle which should be more unstable than double axles.
Under 23 feet any full size SUV or PU with some kind of airbag or extra sping leaf , or Timbren rubber helper , will be perfectly OK under all circumstances. The rest of the world uses only the ball & they are perfectly safe (England Germany Sweden France Austalia ....& so on)

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Old 07-31-2003, 06:36 AM   #9
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I agree with you qqq.

I think the peple here are into their trailer and want the best to tow it with. I have been considering wd/sway control, but everytime I go out it pulls like a dream. I've had strong crosswinds, semis, etc. I don't think a poll taken here or at a Airstream Rally is and accurate measure of what most people in this country pull with. It certainly doesn't hurt to have that stuff, but I don't think I need it.
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Old 07-31-2003, 07:58 AM   #10
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Sway controls

I have a friend with a 34' A/S that uses a single sway bar on the interstates. He doesn't bother with it on lesser roads. He has towed the 34' for close to 10 years that way.

I towed my TrailManor 3124K all over the country for 5 years without sway controls and never had the least sway problem. To their credit, TrailManor uses a computer during the design phase to calculate the best axle location to prevent sway.

I now use a single Reese sway bar, more because I have it as because I need it. I "set it and forget it". It goes on when I hitch up and comes off when I unhitch. In between I don't touch it, including backing into sites.

With or without the sway bar, my truck with the trailer is more stable than without the trailer.
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Old 10-06-2007, 11:19 AM   #11
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The thing I like about tandem axles is the way they glide over bumps without bouncing the stove burners off the ceiling. Seriously, watch as you go over a speed bump, how the axles work together, particularly with leaf springs. Even with independent rubber axles, the effect of any particular bump or dip is mitigated. I usually camp where the last few hundred feet are particularly rough, so this is important to me. Nothing like finding a raw juice and milk omlette all over the dang floor!

As far as maneuverability, I think it is more a function of length of trailer/position of axle rather than tandem-ness. Granted, you can see the sidewalls trying their best to become the tread on tight turns, but that doesn't faze the Suburban any.

As far as going-down-the-road handling, single axle will provide less rolling resistance for better gas mileage, but most handling advantages are with tandem axles IMO.
It seems I love the mountains and deserts more than my friends do. I sure miss them!

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Old 10-06-2007, 10:37 PM   #12
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Yes, discounting the size and weight differences, over the years I have noticed the single axle trailers take less force to pull them down the road, but the tandem axle trailers ride and handle better.
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